DEAR AMY: I've recently started dating a girl I've known for 15 years. We have a romantic history, and after she graduated from college we rekindled our romance.
Unfortunately, her father is a controlling person, and even though she is 25, she is not allowed to date.
She couldn't find a job after graduation this past spring, so she's living at home.
We are dating secretly right now, which has put a lot of stress on us. This makes things really hard.
I'm 26 and about to deploy to Afghanistan.
Should I just enjoy my time with her and wait until I get back to see if things change, or should I push to have her say something to her father so we can see each other more before I go?
— Sad Soldier
DEAR SOLDIER: You should be a stand-up guy and attempt to meet and win over her father. You don't say whether you've even tried to do this.
The more clarity you have about where you stand in this relationship, the easier it will be for you to deploy to Afghanistan and concentrate on doing the important job you're being sent there to do.
At ages 25 and 26, you and your girlfriend are adults, and as such should be able to choose to see each other.
If her father is frightening or dangerous, then you should do whatever is necessary to keep your girlfriend safe.
Unfortunately, as long as she remains at home, she will have to abide by her father's imposed limitations. This issue should provide her with even more motivation to find work and move elsewhere.
DEAR AMY: I've been working as a stock person in retail for 22 years.
Although I have a formal education, I chose my line of work for many reasons. I love interacting with people, enjoy the constant movement in loading product for consumers and the freedom of a flexible schedule.
I have two young children, a wife and a home to tend to.
The general understanding of retail is that it does not pay well, or that it is for high school dropouts, but my wife and I together make a decent living.
I recently finished working over a long holiday weekend where the store was very busy, and I have to tell you that people are just downright rude, condescending and self-centered.
Does anyone have the right to look down their nose because they deem me to be a stock boy?
What if I thought that "soccer mom" or "cubicle IT guy" wasn't a respectable occupation?
My question: Since when are we validated in society by the occupation we choose?
— Fed Up
DEAR FED UP: If our occupations didn't provide some sort of social validation, then it would never matter what any of us did for a living. And it does matter. Ask a teacher.
You are fortunate enough to have chosen an occupation that permits you to enjoy the lifestyle you and your wife share. What more validation do you need?
If you truly enjoy interacting with people, you will have to acknowledge that people are complicated, challenging and — sometimes — jerks.
The more obnoxious customers are the more professional you should become. Save your venting for the loading dock.
DEAR AMY: Not to sound rude, but at 63 "Faced Out" is too old to use Facebook. She was annoyed at unwanted invitations from someone she went to high school with.
I'm 26 and have been using Facebook since its inception. Some older users don't know how to use Facebook. It allows you to block invitations from someone, so you won't even receive them.
Younger people know that when technology is involved, not everything is personal. There is a different culture going on around here, and Baby Boomers are going to feel left out.
— Facebook Friend
DEAR FRIEND: I've responded to these challenges by leapfrogging over Facebook and Twittering instead, which gathers "followers" rather than "friends." Having followers makes me feel like a potentate, rather than an over-the-hill tech reject.
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